By Tanya Ruckstuhl LICSW
I moved to Seattle in 1997, so I have been here—as my kids would say—a “fat minute.” There are a few foods, activities, and products that make life better in the wintertime that I have listed here: We need all the help we can get when the skies are gray and will be so for a long, long time.
- Sun-a-Lux combo therapy light box: all winter long, I spend the first half an hour to 45 minutes of the day in front of mine, and it helps me feel more energetic. http://www.solarhome.org/browseproducts/SUN-A-LUX-reg;-Combo-Light-Therapy-Box-with-new-Blue-Lux–153;-Technology.html
- Eufy robotic vacuum: I’m a robotic vacuum geek. Between kids and two dogs with a dog door and a husband, I need the floor cleaned daily. I’ve had the Roomba, the Shark, the RoboRock, but the Eufy is cheaper and just as good. Warning: never preprogram your robotic vacuums because at least on one occasion, a vacuum that could not dock started a house fire when the lithium battery overheated while the owners were out of town. Just turn it on when you are around and stay out of its way.
- Houseplants: in the winter, go to the nursery or hardware store and buy yourself some beautiful houseplants and some lovely ceramic pots to put them in. Even if you have a brown thumb, you will figure it out eventually. You may need to get a plant light in the winter depending on your window situation.
- Hamilton Beach single serving coffee maker: Ever since a scientifically knowledgeable girlfriend told me that bottom-heated coffee makers create methylxanthine’s, a volatile chemical compound associated with breast cancer in women, I make single serving coffee, but NOT with a Keurig, because they are environmental disasters.
- Vitamin D: the Pacific Northwest has one of the highest rates of MS (multiple sclerosis) in the world, and one possible reason is the lack of vitamin D. Consider it an immune system assist.
- Good Quality Fish Oil: I use Jarrow EPA-DHA Balance formula. There is some research suggesting that fish oil helps with myelinization of the dendrites in our brains, making the chemical messaging more efficient. It is also associated with healthier joints.
- Green, leafy vegetables: I try to eat Kale or spinach every day. They—like all leafy greens–are anti-inflammatory and associated with a reduction in depression. Get yourself a kick-a*& kale recipe like this one: https://www.femalefoodie.com/recipes/chelseas-kitchen-kale-salad-recipe-hack/ Even if you think you don’t like kale, one bite of this vegetable heaven will make you a believer.
- A rain hat: okay they look goofy as hell, but if you can go for a walk in the rain and keep your head and face dry, you are more likely to get out there no matter what the weather. And if you are like me, we keep one hand on a cup of coffee when we walk so don’t want to have the other hand holding an umbrella. Embrace your dorkish side! Be comfortable.
- A cheap winter getaway. Here in Seattle, Palm Springs is only a 2 ½ hour flight and if you book your tickets in advance, costs around two hundred bucks round trip on Alaska Airlines. You can find affordable Airbnb’s or hotels if you avoid the Coachella/Stage Coach/Indian Wells Tennis Tournament weekends. Yes most of the restaurants there are mostly lousy (not all of them: Vicky’s in Rancho Mirage is wonderful and they have the best house band, and Farm has great food and magical ambiance) but Palm Springs is not the place for culture it’s for….Sun!
So that is my list. What are your favorite wintertime survival strategies?